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The Gothic style appeared in the second half of the 12th century in Western and Central Europe, where the dominant Catholic religion. The term was introduced during the Renaissance, to…

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On the Google satellite photos, publicly available, discovered a number of enigmatic structures in the Gobi desert in China - giant stripes, circles and something similar to the airfield. Now…

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Gothic architecture

As is often the case in art history, the term “Gothic” was initially a disparaging value. In 1533 Rabelais translated it into French, and a few decades later, Giorgio Vasari referred to him as “the style… characteristic of the Goths”, “ugly and barbaric”. On the other hand, already the medieval Latin adjective used gothicus was applied to the codes, the writing of which differed from scripture of Gotama (Roman writing).

Initially the expression “Gothic” indicated the Northern world in contrast to Latin and Mediterranean, a perfect guardian of beauty and harmony. You need to be in the middle of the eighteenth century to better understand this position, English and French art historiography tried to rethink the problem. 1797 G. James Hall created a theory according to which the Gothic was born out of primitive wooden structures of the ancient Germans.

Recent surveys have restored justice, confirming the invalidity of all illegitimate hypotheses. It is recognized that the Gothic style with artistic autonomy and considerable advantages, in the nineteenth century experienced a real revival, in the twentieth century was filled with symbols of fantasy and fairytales.


Unlike the Romanesque style, the different distribution centres were motorolarules almost the entire West, the new style was the cradle of Northern France. However, only in the XIX century it became known that the first Gothic building was the Cathedral of the Abbey of Saint-Denis near Paris.

The building is a bright structure of choirs and deambulatory really outgrown the stylistic framework of the Romanesque style, opening the way for the spread of a new direction in the Ile-de-France.


Unlike Romanesque, Gothic architecture associated with intensive inland lighting. It depends mainly on the use of Lancet arches, which, unlike semi-circular, can carry heavy loads, the window becomes much wider, and pilasters are not so massive.

Lancet arch, already used in North African Islamic architecture IX. gained a fundamental role in the construction of the Church, informing her upward momentum, which has religious significance, primarily a reference to the nearness of God.

Moreover, a high strength of pointed arches and ribbed vault allowed instead of alternating pilasters and columns use only the pilasters, are already able to perform the function of support. The distribution of the spans and openings in the wall of the Central nave of the Romanesque identical (clerestory, Matrona or more often — dull trifari, bearing arches).

However, the trend is towards an extension of the openings, and Windows or rozany was a more subtle decor and often decorated with elegant openwork carving, resembling a filigree lace pattern. The wide openings in the structure walls provided for the application of corrective and support systems, particularly the buttresses and flying buttresses, which served the function of redistribution of the load.

With a total vertical trends increased the technical possibilities allowed to create coverage in the form of the spire on the tops of the towers of the façade or the crossing of the transept. Also changed the style of decoration: in addition to plural images that adorn the portals or capitals, appeared composition on the ribbed arch, the abutments, the peak of the roof.

A clear trend of extinction with friezes of geometric motifs, characteristic of the Romanesque style. Replace them with a lively naturalism and floral ornament from the leaves of the acanthus, Fig, ivy.

Change, becoming more complex, and planimetry. From the plan in the form of a Latin cross, has already mastered the Romanesque style, are transferred to centric plan and the “hall Church.”

Due to its special structure (three or five naves; “speed” — if the Central nave is on a hill) halls (or hall) the Church gives the impression of a huge single space, directly lit from the Windows of the lateral naves.

Chronology and style

Gothic has evolved over a long period, from the 40s of the XII century to the first decades of the XVI century a stage of prosperity — the last decade of the XIV century until 40-ies of the XV century. -was marked by a diversity that meets the multifaceted aspects of this variegated culture: “international Gothic” emphasizes the stylistic multiplicity distribution, while the “Gothic court” clearly indicates the phenomenon of relevance to the court. “Flaming Gothic” (FR. — flamboyant ; it. — Weicher St/7, i.e. ” soft style “) reveals the predominance in the decoration of the S-shaped curve, resembling writhing flames.

French term rayonnant ( “radiant” ) places us in the rays of the rose-window. Definition of “blooming Gothic” focuses on the ornaments. The parabola of this stylistic language ends with a late-Gothic style, which spread especially in the first years of the fourteenth century in Northern Europe, only part of which raised the echoes of the Italian Renaissance.

The scale of European Gothic was accompanied by the adoption of typical national styles.


The role of the conductor in the formation of various stylistic ways belongs to île-de-France (second half of XII century). By the end of the century by French architects and builders so thoroughly studied the technical possibilities pointed arches that we were able to afford form of Grand scale that has evolved, reaching the highest skill.

In the XIV century. there is further facilitation of the construction of the Church, which became more airy and refined. The so-called “blooming Gothic” of the XV century reached an extraordinary development.


England, influenced by France, had formed, however, their own national language. The designation of Early English (“early English”) defines the style of the end of the XII century. until the second half of the thirteenth century (including new formal solutions, as the star-shaped vaults of the cathedrals in Lincoln and silt).

Since the second half of the XIII century to the end of the 40s the next century Decorated Style (“decorated style”), characterized by ribs that are processed in the form of grooves and double bends. Approximately 1330 g. (almost till the end of XV century) there is a Style Perpendicular (“perpendicular style”), which was characterized by an extremely ambitious dynamics of vertical combined with amazing discoveries of previously unseen forms.

Spain and Portugal

Spain and Portugal relatively late took the Gothic style, introduced by the Cistercians in the thirteenth century while the Islamic dominance in that period increasingly weakened until disappeared.

However, a century passed before in Portugal appeared truly Gothic piece, the prelude to the flourishing of the so-called Manueline style by king Manuel I (1495-1521). In Spain he conformed to the style of the Reyes Catolicos.

Germany and Italy

Germany felt the influence of French Gothic architecture since the 30s of the XIII century. the model for Eliza-bachkirche in Marburg was the Cathedral in Reims and the Cologne Cathedral predecessors were the cathedrals at Amiens and Beauvais. The original decision of Hallenkirche served in Germany, the benchmark until the end of the XV century, partly thanks to the contribution of such brilliant architects as Parler.

The Cistercians introduced the Gothic style, faced in Italy not only with the classical tradition, but also with the Burgundian style of architecture, which in varying degrees has influenced urban and religious structures of the subsequent time.

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